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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Modern viewing habits killed the video star

Once again recently, I heard someone make an offhanded remark along the lines of: "You know, back when MTV actually played videos."

Please, everybody who has trotted out this line or something similar, do me a favor: Get in a boat with the "Why not make airplane out of the same stuff they make the black box out of?" crowd and go away.

You're not clever. You're not witty.

Here's the dirty little secret everybody forgets when they pine for the days MTV, MTV2 and VH1 playing videos for hours at a time: Nobody watches music videos anymore. Even "TRL," the last bastion of music videos being played on a basic cable channel in daylight hours, got the ax a couple months ago. And why did "TRL" last so long? Because MTV hacked videos down to 30-second highlight clips. Sit through a whole four-minute song? Surely you jest, says MTV.

Do you really want to sit and watch an hour of music videos? Neither does anybody else. And if you actually do, go enjoy the obscurity of Fuse in the digital tier of your cable package.

But ... but ... but how can people get interested in music videos if MTV and VH1 won't play them? Oh, I don't know. Maybe somehow, some way to drum up some interest in a music video.

Can you name the last music video that was a hit? Not the song in a video. I'm talking about the actual music video itself. Can you name any of the last 10 "video of the year" winners at the VMAs? You're on a really short list if you can.

Personally, I think it's nothing short of amazing that three basic cable channels - MTV, MTV2 and VH1 - that were created for the sole purpose of airing a medium that is all but dead have found a way to stay relevant.

Of course, how exactly they've stayed relevant ("Rock of Love Tour Bus", "I Love Money", "Making the Band 4", etc.) is a soapbox speech for another day.

If only we still had "Beavis and Butt-head" and "Singled Out" and "Sandblast" and ...

- Tom Valentino


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